WARNING: Major spoilers ahead for Twisted Magics. So please, if you don’t want me to ruin a particular event, stop reading now.
Why did I put up a spoiler warning? Couldn’t I have told this gaming tale without it? Nope, because I had written the scene long before an all too similar event happened in game. It kind of freaked me out to be honest.
I’ve held off posting this tale as it happened roughly a week and a half before Twisted Magics launched.
Now, for those of you that have read through Twisted Magics know what happens to Big Black…
Savanas was first a D&D 3.5 (then Pathfinder) character of mine. We still use Mystara as a setting, which is vastly different from Terra, but I easily brought her skills and personality into my world. This included Big Black whose game name was Sirius. Retanei has Remus – totally made their animal companions when I was on a Harry Potter kick years ago. No regrets, but figured I should revamp their companions at least in name going into Terra. (Remus ended up being Artemis’ father)
Now, keep in mind, the mix of characters is vastly different from story to game also. Different fight. Different world… actually a totally different plane, but that’s a tale for another time. Going from game to story is one thing, but vice versa – that’s something else altogether. Especially when it is not at all intended to mimic the story.
This is an Italian Mastiff. It’s what I had in mind for Sirius/Big Black.
What happened in game? Well, my bard, Lindale, Savanas, and Sirius snuck past the rest of the group fighting on the floor below. On the next level, they spot soldiers trying to hide to create an ambush. Six total. Lindale creates a Minor Image of our paladin, Brunnhilde, (who is still downstairs) and manages to confuse four of the guards into attacking it.
Savanas and Sirius manage to get the jump on the remaining two guards (who are trying to convince the other four they shouldn’t be attacking the Imaged Paladin). Savanas decapitates the boss of this group and Sirius enjoys mauling and dragging the other soldier to the floor.
Those two are quickly dispatched – Savanas went over to the one Sirius was working on and immediately killed him with two natural 20s and a confirmation. They moved on to the next two who finally realized they were fighting an illusion. And on a fun note: one pissed his pants after witnessing Savanas take down his boss so swiftly.
The rest of the party (sans the rogue, Pick, who is on the roof trying to figure out how to break a window and start blowing up the boss with his wand of fireball) gets upstairs and are now seeing a path of death being created by the two. They also see the Image Paladin. Most of them are confused and think that both of these Brunnhildes are real (it’s actually scary because she’s very violent).
Lindale thinks it’s hilarious and keeps up the image, which continues to confuse the remaining enemies. Savanas is wearing down, her strikes not so solid anymore. Sirius keeps hurting and bringing down his foe.
Then he gets up. The DM rolls 20. 20. And then confirms the hit, which is an instant death in our house rules. Our Brunnhilde’s player is in tears at this point. She was one of my beta readers and had gotten upset over the death of Big Black.
I have never seen so many people trying to figure out how to save a character and be utterly vengeful over it. Any of the normal characters it probably would have been a “oh well, reroll” kind of attitude. The death of this massive black dog just brought everyone low.
Savanas did not get her vengeance on the enemy that murdered her dog – the others jumped him before she could get a chance. The game ended that night with Savanas standing, swords dripping with blood, her anger barely contained (we didn’t continue on after this to the boss as it was late).
Admittedly, I had to haul myself out of Savanas’ head. I knew I’d be getting upset, but as a player, I had to rationally think through what would happen next. I never had an animal companion die before and needed to start thinking ahead and begin working with our DM to figure out how/when to replace Sirius.
And it broke my heart to write that. Here, have a puppy.
Please note that the images are not mine, but I could not tell who they originally belonged to in order to give credit.